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Teenager, mother lose legal challenge against UK abortion ruling; vow to appeal

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LONDON — A teenager and her mother on Wednesday lost a legal challenge against a rule that prevents women from Northern Ireland from receiving free abortions in England.

The 18-year-old from Northern Ireland, who cannot be named to protect her identity, was 15 when she traveled to England for an abortion in 2012. She had to pay 600 pounds ($937) for it because she was excluded from free abortion services.

Abortions are illegal in Northern Ireland except in extreme cases when a woman's life is deemed at risk from her pregnancy. Every year at least 1,000 Northern Irish women are estimated to seek the procedure in England, where it is legal. Both Northern Ireland and England are part of the United Kingdom, but the health services are separately controlled.

Three judges on Wednesday upheld a previous High Court decision ruling that the teenager wasn't entitled to a state-funded abortion in England.

A lawyer acting for the women say they plan to appeal to Britain's Supreme Court.

"My clients did not give up last year and do not intend to give up now," said the lawyer, Angela Jackman.

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